Via The Platoon Advantage, we come across three more Hall of Fame voters, all from Chicago, who have determined based on either (a) nothing; or (b) rumor or information that they posses but don’t feel is up to the standards of being published in a piece of ethical journalism,* that Jeff Bagwell did steroids and thus isn’t worthy of the Hall of Fame. They are Philip Hersh and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune and Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald.
Hersh says “I’m still too suspicious about Jeff Bagwell to include him.” Sullivan lumps Bagwell in with the “unindicted but suspected contributors to the PED mess.” Gregor says “[s]uspicions of using “performance enhancing drugs” weigh heavily on my decision to leave off productive players such as Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez.”
Hey, their ballots. They can use ’em how they want to. I just hope for their sake no one judges their careers’ worth in such a fashion, because it’s totally harsh and unfair and I’d hate for them to have to go through that.
Anyway, if that makes you feel all icky, go read Posnanski’s take on such Hall of Fame votes in historical context. I think he hits it on the head when he talks about how these guys see themselves as something more than mere assessors of baseball performance and something more like gatekeepers with an inflated sense of their place in the process.
But hey, at least they’re keeping us and history all safe from, well, something.
*Hopefully this point is not considered controversial. Because it’s nothing more than simple logic. By definition, people either have actual information establishing that Bagwell did steroids or they do not. If they do have it, they have not published it. And given how newsworthy such information would be, the only plausible reason they haven’t published it is because their newspapers would not allow them to do it because the information is thin and/or uncorroborated. So: such a stance as the one shown by these gentleman is necessarily either one taken with no information or with information that falls short of the standards to which they usually adhere in their daily work.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?